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Pastor, preacher, and prophet. Born in Maine to a family of free Blacks, he was baptized as a teenager in the Freewill Baptist Church. He received several visions in 1842, giving views of heaven and the advent of Christ, the reward of the saints and the punishment of sinners. At one point as he related his visions in Beethoven Hall in Portland, Maine, a young Ellen Harmon sat near the speaker’s stand, with Foy’s wife beside her. She recalled, “It was remarkable testimonies that he bore” (17MR 96.3).
In 1845 his visions and personal experience were published in The Christian Experience of William E. Foy Together With the Two Visions He Received in the Months of January and February 1842. In relating a time when in her early years she was recounting her visions in a public meeting, Ellen White stated, “I heard a shout, and he [Foy] is a great, tall man, and the roof was rather low, and he jumped right up and down, and oh, he praised the Lord, praised the Lord. It was just what he had seen, just what he had seen” (17MR 96.2). It appears that Foy had messages for the Advent believers before October 22, 1844 just as Ellen White had visions and dreams after. Though his prophetic ministry was not life-long as was Ellen White’s, he did continue as a minister the rest of his life.
The Christian Experience of William E. Foy